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PM Shehbaz lands in Turkey on maiden visit


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ANKARA/ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Tuesday landed in the Turkish capital for a three-day visit — his first since assuming the office last month.

A high-level delegation — including Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Investment Board Minister Chaudhry Salik Hussain, PM’s special assistants Tariq Fatemi and Fahad Hussain — is accompanying the prime minister, while Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will join the delegation later on.

As the prime minister landed at Ankara Esenboğa Airport, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi, senior government officials, and diplomatic personnel gave the premier a warm welcome.

Apart from this, a smartly turned-out contingent of the Turkish Army presented a salute to the prime minister.

During his visit, the prime minister will have a tete-a-tete with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan which would be followed by delegation-level talks.

Besides discussing the Pakistan-Turkey bilateral relations, the two leaders would also exchange views on regional and international issues. They will also address a joint press statement after their meetings.

As both countries are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, both leaders will jointly unveil a logo — marking the commencement of the celebrations.

The prime minister is scheduled to have extensive interaction with leading Turkish businessmen and potential investors from diverse sectors.

He will also attend a Pakistan-Turkey Business Council Forum, hosted in collaboration with DEIK (Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board).

A business delegation from Pakistan comprising representatives of leading companies across various sectors would also participate in the business engagements.

Shortly before leaving for Ankara, PM Shehbaz said that it is time that Pakistan and Turkey “leverage their excellent bonds to upgrade bilateral ties.”

“Departing for visit to Turkey. Time has come for Pakistan & Turkey to leverage their excellent bonds to upgrade bilateral ties. Era of regional connectivity, shared development & common destiny calls for a fresh approach. Look forward to discussing this with my brother @RTErdogan,” he tweeted.

Prior to his departure, in an interview with Anadolu Agency, the prime minister has assured boosting bilateral trade with Ankara, while vowing to make Pakistan a self-reliant and politically stable country.

The prime minister said that Pakistan and Turkey enjoy exemplary relations, “grounded firmly in common religious, cultural and linguistic links.”

He said that the two countries have had each other’s back against all the challenges during the last seven-and-a-half decade of diplomatic relationship.

“Pakistan and Turkey support each other on all issues of core national interest — whether it is Jammu and Kashmir or Northern Cyprus,” PM Shehbaz Sharif said while responding to a question.

The premier thanked the Republic of Turkey and its leadership for principled support on the issue of Kashmir.

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